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The Secretary General of the United Nations met today with the President of the International
Organization of Employers, Mr. François Perigot (France); IOE Executive Vice-President Daniel Funes
de Rioja (Argentina), IOE Regional Vice-Presidents Tom Owuor (Kenya) and Tom Niles (United States),
IOE former Presidents Ashraf Tabani (Pakistan) and Abraham Katz (United States), as well as IOE
Secretary-General Antonio Peñalosa.
For the IOE, the promotion of the Global Compact has become a major initiative. The Organization has used its unique global network of 135 national members to promote the Compact's nine principles among employers throughout the world, in particular in the developing countries.
This effort has included regional meetings and other activities in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, as well as advocacy over the internet (IOE.net). The IOE has also prepared circulars, training material and an Employers Guide to the Global Compact in Arabic, English, French, Spanish and Russian. The Guide is aimed primarily at small- and medium-sized national companies and stresses the voluntary nature of the principles, underlining that they are goals to be worked towards incrementally, taking into account the national economic and social realities of each country.
The UN Secretary-General expressed appreciation for the IOE's commitment to the Compact, and acknowledged that IOE members are well-placed to bring domestic strength and credibility to national initiatives involving the ILO, UNEP, UNHCHR or UNDP. He also emphasized the importance of involving companies from the developing world in the IOE's future efforts.
UN and IOE representatives agreed that the Global Compact should remain inclusive and open to employers, regardless of their size or location, especially given that there are many ways to make progress in implementing the principles of the Compact.
UN and IOE representatives also agreed that the Global Compact initiative remains as relevant today as it was when it was launched in 1999, and that the engagement of the private sector is positive, with considerable potential to promote more equitable sharing of the benefits of globalization and improvements in labour, environmental and human rights conditions.
UN and IOE representatives further agreed that the Global Compact is not a substitute for other approaches, such as regulation, and that it is a voluntary initiative that seeks to motivate employers to act within their sphere of influence.
The UN Secretary General and IOE President signed a statement calling on employers' organizations to urge their members to embrace and enact the principles of the Global Compact and, by doing so, to help make globalization work for all people. The IOE President expressed his willingness to explore further possibilities for its members to act, with other actors as appropriate, as focal points for Global Compact activities including the establishment of national learning forums for identifying and collecting information and good practices, and serving as a forum for dialogue with others in taking the principles forward.